On Collaging: Making Sense of the Madness

Collaging has been a constant mode of expression for me, a channel to create something unforeseen with objects that may or may not have meaning. I don't believe there is any one right way to make anything- people have their own processes of creating and the result is an accumulation of their own experiences and interpretations. I enjoy many mediums- drawing/sketching, sewing, singing/playing music- but there is something about collaging that does it for me. My chaotic and analytical mind finds relief from making an image out of what was not there before; like puzzle pieces from differing boxes, I move each piece around, assessing its margins, the lines that occur naturally, and find the connection. 

There is often not much thought involved, indeed I feel it is more freeing when the pieces fall naturally, playing and adjusting until it fits into place. My mom first introduced me to collaging. She was a special education teacher with all kinds of crafty features up her sleeves. As a kid, I remember tearing up pieces of construction paper and magazine images to make a new image reminiscent of mosaic. I feel grateful for my art teachers in school that provided the materials for me to figure out what resonated with me as a human and artist at an early age, but I must give credit to my parents for instilling a love of the arts as a means of self-expression and encouraging me to explore what was calling. 

It was in middle school when I felt a connection to the art of collaging- like it was a way for me to feel free to express myself. With other mediums (i.e., drawing, playing an instrument), there's a certain level of skill required before something comes out like it is in your head. I didn't feel stifled by matting scraps of paper together- particularly magazine pictures that contained images I felt inspired by. I also felt freedom taking the 2D nature of the flat piece of paper and finding ways to add layers to create depth. 

Later in college, I utilized these skills to create inspiration boards to design apparel collections from. This is when another link in the connection was solidified- it was then that I could use the art of collaging to translate what was inspiring me and apply it toward a greater end goal, this time making clothes. 

I like to use collaging to make cards for people- a personalized, totally unique gift that costs close to nothing to me but makes a big impact on the receiver. I like to get a variety of sources- I started with fashion magazines, but after a while I found it stifling, so I started expanding: travel, food, art, architecture, space, nature, science magazines all have a plethora of interesting images that have opened up my collaging capacity. I also collage within my journals and planners. I like to use specific mementos from a time and encapsulate it into a book. It's also a way of resourcefulness- utilizing what already is and transforming it into something new. I just feel very free when with paper, scissors, and glue. 

Make a mess, clean it up creatively.

Nat Davis Comment